Man’s face rebuilt after thug attack

Lee wells 1

A HOMELESS man attacked a worker going home from a Christmas party so severely his face had to be reconstructed.

Nineteen-year-old Lee Wells, who was on bail for brandishing a hammer 10 days earlier, set on 42-year-old Robert Johnson outside the YMCA hostel in Harding Road, Hanley.

The incident occurred in the early hours of December 6 last year as Mr Johnson made his way from The Quality Hotel in Trinity Street.

He was left with a fractured jaw and eye sockets and had to undergo four operations to have plates inserted into his face.

Wells, of no fixed address, who pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm, was sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday.

Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said: “Mr Johnson left the Quality Hotel in Hanley some time after midnight.

“He had no other recollection of the events that occurred except that he was the subject of assault leading to substantial injuries.

“On returning home he realised he had forgotten his keys and left them at the Quality Hotel.”

Mr Johnson then returned by taxi to the hotel, where he collected his keys and set off home again.

Mr Spratt added: “It was at the point that he was walking back from Hanley town centre past the YMCA that the attack occurred. He says he was attacked but has no recollection of the attack as it occurred.”

The court heard Mr Johnson had been left with headaches, numbness in his face and difficulty eating as a result of the incident.

At the time of the attack, Wells was on bail for an incident on November 25 when he was caught with a hammer in Harding Road. On that occasion, he was in the company of two other men who were found with an African-style club and a knife.

He tried to prevent arrest by hiding in a ground floor storeroom of the hostel but was discovered.

Sarah Badrawy, defending, said Wells had experienced a very difficult upbringing. She said: “He had a number of adverse events at a crucial stage in his life.

“He suffered from rejection from both his family and rejection from his foster family.

“It is at that stage he found himself of no fixed abode. He spent his life moving from different friends’ sofas and homeless hostels.”

Referring to two psychiatric reports, Judge Granville Styler said Wells was “very dangerous young man” but said he was limited in his sentencing options.

He imposed a 12-month jail sentence for possessing an offensive weapon and affray, and 30 months consecutively for the grievous bodily harm.

He said: “The public should know that the psychiatric report says he poses a high risk of serious harm to others.”

Stoke Sentinel

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